Kentucky NOW is gearing up for anniversary of Women’s March

Kentucky state representative Kelly Flood, D-Fayette (District 75), speaks at an event in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, January 21, 2017. Thousands of people gathered in front of Fayette County’s district and circuit courts and marched through the city to protest President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Photo by Joshua Qualls | Staff

Tyler Parker

Typically, one-year anniversaries are for celebration, but for the Kentucky National Organization for Women, President Donald Trump’s first year in office is a new chance for members to rally for the policies they find most important.

The rally will be held on Saturday, Jan. 20, in remembrance of the 2017 Women’s March. The NOW Kentucky chapter organized last year’s Lexington march, which had more than 5,000 people in attendance, according to a Lexington Police tweet.

NOW is an activist group founded in 1966 that promotes equality and representation for women in the United States. 

“Basically, last year’s Kentucky NOW Sister March was a response to the election of Trump,” said Karen Conley, action-vice president of Kentucky NOW. “We took our sadness, anger and outrage to the streets in protest and in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington.”

Last year, states throughout the country held marches to protest Trump’s presidency – including New York, Massachusetts, California and more. Some international cities had marches as well.

At the previous Lexington march, local speakers included Democratic politicians Sen. Reginald Thomas, Rep. Kelly Flood, Rep. Attica Scott and other Lexington activists.

For the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, Kentucky NOW has a new goal in mind.

“Our next step is to mobilize and vote the GOP out,” Conley said.  “The change we seek at Kentucky NOW is to reclaim our state and turn Kentucky blue again.”

This year’s gathering is not a march, but a rally to mobilize voters for the upcoming midterm elections. 

Access to healthcare, justice in sexual harassment cases and accessibility to state representatives are among some issues vital to the organization.

“Writing our Republican legislators, attempting to speak with them and holding rallies,” Conley said. “They haven’t listened. They’ve not been accessible to us – they don’t recognize, or acknowledge, the dissent that exists within their base of constituents.”

According to Conley, speakers for the upcoming event include Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, DACA activist Noemi Lara-Rojo, President of UK’s LGBTQ* Alumni Group Tuesday G. Meadows and others.

For the Kentucky National Organization for Women, rallying is only the beginning for this year. In 2018, the group is prepared to register new voters, promote its message to the local community and push for the policies most important to it. Trump’s one year mark in office, for some, will present another chance to fight back.